In September of every year a number of members of BCA get together to form the Fleets – one on Vancouver Island, one in Calgary and one on the Lower Mainland. These are people who are planning to leave for offshore in the following year or soon thereafter. They meet monthly or more often, depending on the program they set up for the year. The members themselves decide the program based on their needs and interests.
Goals of the Fleets
One of the objectives of the Fleet is to increase the participants’ basic knowledge of whatever is necessary to prepare them for safe and comfortable voyages. Examples of sessions presented in years past, as well as topics covered, include:
- Presentations and panels of BCA members who have recently returned from offshore
- Use of Pactor Modems for Email and Weather Files
- Mast Climbing
- Ham and SSB
- Storm Tactics and Safety at Sea
- Psychology of Cruising
- Rigging and Rigging Repair
- Sail Selection and Sail Repair
- Medical Problems Offshore
Each year’s Fleet can work with the respective BCA Education Watch to set up sessions such as the ones mentioned above.
Some Fleet programs include Weather Groups, where members research and present weather topics and plan virtual voyages based on weather patterns. It’s a great way to learn to read weather information and apply the knowledge to a specific journey.
Another objective is to make the members aware of sources of useful and innovative equipment available. A committee of each Fleet is in contact with various suppliers collecting information on equipment available at good prices.
Perhaps the most important objective of the Fleet is to get to know the people who will be sharing their offshore adventure – people with whom they will be meeting in foreign ports, people who will happily help each other out in times of difficulty, people who will become long-time friends. With this in mind, the Fleets have a number of social events during the year with no specific program other than getting to know one another better.
The fleet fees range between $50-$60 per boat, per year, depending on the Chapter. This fee covers the boat and all crew, so all crew is welcome to attend the meetings! Fleet fees are payable online (you must login to access the page).
Throughout the year, the regular meetings of the fleets are held as follows:
- Vancouver Fleet: meet on the last Tuesday of each month.
- Vancouver Island Fleet: meet on the third Wednesday of each month.
- Calgary Fleet: meeting schedule TBD
The first meeting of the Vancouver Fleet of 2023 will be held upstairs at the Scottish Cultural Centre at 1930h on Tuesday, September 27. This meeting will feature the crew of Naida, Anne Trudel and Ken Buckley, describing their coast hopping trip to Mexico last summer.
The first meeting of the VI Fleet of 2023 will take place on Wednesday, September 21, featuring a presentation on weather routing with Open CPN, by Al Kitchener. The in-person meetings will be held at Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the Discovery Room starting at 1830h and they will be presented as hybrid meetings for those who can’t make it to the Yacht Club.
The VI Fleet also forms a weather group each year. This year, the group will meet virtually only on the fourth Wednesdays of the month at 1830h from October until the end of February. The first meeting of the weather group will feature Scott Crawshaw presenting introductory weather unit.